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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Ann Leary comes the captivating story of a wealthy but unconventional New England family, told from the perspective of a reclusive 29-year-old who has a secret (and famous) life on the Internet.

Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother's home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at Lakeside, their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace - and a provision in the family trust.

When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancée home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near and flaws surface in the family's polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.

With remarkable wit and insight, Ann Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family as they are forced to grapple with the assets and liabilities - both material and psychological - left behind by their wonderfully flawed patriarch.

©2016 Ann Leary (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Even better than The Good House!

Interesting plot--even a little mystery--interesting characters, location...interesting everything! Great voice performance too.

I was a little worried reading some of the reviews on Amazon but I liked Leary's The Good House so much, I decided to risk it. And I'm glad I did. This one was even better. I'm not sure what the other reviewers are talking about when they say "unlikeable characters." You like who you're supposed to like, dislike who you're supposed to dislike, and feel ambivalent about other characters--like you're supposed to. In other words, Leary did her job without banging you over the head.

All the main characters were complex and fully realized, as was the plot, the sense of place, the relationships between characters, etc.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jennifer
  • BROOKLYN, NY, United States
  • 02-18-17

Brilliant family comedy/drama

Ann Leary knows what she's doing. Take a few interesting characters with amusing flaws/quirks, put them in a challenging situation, add an interloper, money, unanswered questions, resentment and humor, and then turn the whole thing upside-down. Witty at times, dark at others. Not only is this a great character study, it's got a riveting plot too.

The level of depth takes this book from good to great. A lively story that kept me engaged, entertained and which moved me deeply.

Thank you Gretchen Mol for your superb narration. Many audiobooks suffer from narration that does not serve the book as much as the performer's ego. Overacting is such a turnoff. Finally, a narrator who gives us a book rather than a self-indulgent performance. Five stars.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Leary is developing into a formidable writer

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed Ann Leary's first novel but I think this new one is even better. The protagonist presents many of the other characters as virtuous and lovable but the reader slowly begins to detect the unreliability of these views. The writing is subtle, the insights into human frailty are forgiving and the narrative is compelling. One of the best novels I have read this year.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great characterization... not much happens

Like many reviewers I loved 'The Good House' and bought this because of that.

The characters didn't disappoint, the set up is good (though I did get a bit annoyed with everyone's lack of awareness about their weak financial situation - living in a house owned by someone else).

The story setup is believable and the day to day reasonable. but then like life... it just sort of meanders along. There are major events right at the end, and no-one seems particularly upset or distressed. There's a flatness that could have been fixed with more tension. It felt as though Ann Leary had perhaps lost interest at the end and simply tied up all the loose ends quickly.

It's still an enjoyable read and I'll read more by her. But if this is your first Ann Leary - get the Good House. it's compelling in a way this isnt'

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alicia
  • Tampa, FL, United States
  • 06-21-16

Nothing happened

Any additional comments?

It is so strange how I was 6 hours into the book and didn't even realize it. Nothing happened in this book. Nothing fantastic, or extraordinary or wildly appealing. But it was still a good read. The characters were well developed and kept me engaged in the story. The ending left a little to be desired. I think perhaps I was expecting something bigger?

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

made me mad make me laugh make me smile

it took me awhile to keep all the characters straight in the very beginning and sometimes that is something I find with an audible book that I don't find with a book that I'm reading. but by the second chapter or so I had a picture of all the characters and could keep them straight. I like them all really like the book didn't want the ending to be what it was but there it was. sometimes that's the best indication of a really good book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

incredible narrator, vivid characters and setting

Ann Leary really gets human behavior, and writes the most affecting character-driven stories I’ve read. The narrator gives a full performance and brings life to this fascinating cast of characters and New England lake house. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A little sad..

But such a good story. The characters are so real and human and interesting.
I want to know them

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing ,

This reader of this flawed novel has a flat, almost monotone voice.
Very unappealing, and detracts from the story.
A different narrator might have helped the book to seem less simplistic than it actually was. Much of the conversation sounded like it was from a third grade reading manual, because it was rendered so stiffly. The story seemed to end midstream. Without giving the story away, the characters who had been lied to at the outset might have come together for an ingenious revenge scheme. Additional plot development would have enhanced the book.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sheri
  • Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  • 05-27-17

Not Good Children

After loving Good House and listening to it several times, I was excited for The Children, but was let WAY down. There's no story here! It's like eavesdropping on a fairly ordinary step-family as they bicker, reminisce and rearrange themselves around a newly introduced fiancé. There are some interesting events at the close of the book which almost saved it, but not enough that I can recommend this book.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful